Chow Chows are interesting looking dogs that are believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds and not that far removed from the dog’s shared ancestor, the wolf. Some people believe that they were produced in the breeding of Samoyed and the Tibetan Mastiff, but others claim that their blue tongues are an indication of the fact that they are indeed the predecessor of Samoyed, as well as Pomeranian and some other popular breeds.
Artifacts from 150 B.C. were discovered in which a Chow Chow like dog was portrayed as a hunting dog. And indeed, there are other records of the breed being used for a number of tasks, some of which included hunting, while others were that of a guardian dog. The dog’s fur is a strong evidence of its northern origin, it stands to reason that such a dense and lush coat was a protection from colder climates, but the earliest records of large populations of Chow Chow are placing him in southern China. Apart from their duties as working dogs, they were also often eaten by people and their warm coats were used to make clothing.
The breeds name comes from the merchants that would bring these dogs from China. Articles in the cargos of the ships were often just marked as Chow Chow if they were coming from China, regardless of their type. The dog’s name in china was Songshi Quan which would mean something like puffy lion dog.
They started gaining popularity in England in 1880s when Queen Victoria developed interest in these dogs after she saw one in a zoo. A club dedicated to them was formed there in 1895. The first time that this breed was publicly exhibited in the USA was in 1890. The breed was recognized 13 years later, in 1903, and the club dedicated to it began its operation in 1906.